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Biden announces national security team

Biden announces top Cabinet picks
Biden announces top foreign policy and national security picks 01:50

President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday several top positions on his national security team, including secretary of state, homeland security secretary, director of national intelligence, ambassador to the United Nations, national security adviser and a special presidential envoy for climate. 

As CBS News has reported, Mr. Biden has selected Antony Blinken to be secretary of state. Blinken has known Mr. Biden for years and served in the past two Democratic administrations, including as a deputy national security adviser and as deputy secretary of state. The president-elect first started working with Blinken over 15 years ago when he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Blinken was the Democratic staff director. Blinken later went on to serve as Mr. Biden's national security adviser during the Obama administration.

Avril Haines is Mr. Biden's pick to be director of national intelligence, the first woman to serve in the role. She served as the CIA's deputy director from 2013 to 2015 and was also deputy national security adviser and was the first woman to hold each of these positions.

The president-elect is nominating Alejandro Mayorkas to be secretary of homeland security, the first immigrant and Latino secretary in the 18-year history of the Department of Homeland Security. Born in Havana, Mayorkas left Cuba with his family in the 1960s after Fidel Castro's leftists revolutionaries ousted strongman Fulgencio Batista and created a communist regime.

In 2009, Mayorkas joined the Obama administration as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. President Obama nominated Mayorkas to be deputy DHS secretary in 2013, becoming the highest-ranking Cuban American in government. An adviser familiar with Mr. Biden's transition planning praised Mayorkas' selection, saying he has "deep experience, knows the department well, is well regarded by the community and by law enforcement."

Mayorkas tweeted on Monday that the U.S. "provided my family and me a place of refuge" when he was young. 

"Now, I have been nominated to be the DHS Secretary and oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones," he wrote. 

Linda Thomas-Greenfield is Mr. Biden's choice to be U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and the president-elect is elevating her to a position on his Cabinet. She has been working for the transition and brings decades of experience to the job. She was a foreign service officer who worked for the Reagan administration, and also served as director general of the Foreign Service. Thomas-Greenfield also served as ambassador to Liberia and was assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2013 to 2017. 

Mr. Biden is appointing Jake Sullivan to be White House national security adviser. Sullivan has been advising Mr. Biden on domestic policy, but has an extensive foreign policy background. He served as Mr. Biden's national security adviser during President Barack Obama's second term and was a head of policy planning and deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. Sullivan also played a key role in negotiating the Iran nuclear deal.

Mr. Biden is also appointing former Secretary of State John Kerry to be the first special presidential envoy for climate change. It's a role that will not require Senate confirmation, but Kerry will sit on the national security council. Kerry played a key role in negotiating the Paris climate accord to reduce climate emissions. This is the first time the NSC will have an official designated for climate change, and the position reflects Mr. Biden's belief that climate change is a national security concern.

Kerry responded to the announcement with a tweet Monday: 

In his statement, Mr. Biden said his new team will be "ready on Day One to help me reclaim America's seat at the head of the table, rally the world to meet the biggest challenges we face, and advance our security, prosperity, and values." He said that the individuals he's chosen, with their imagination and years of experience, "reflect the idea that we cannot meet the profound challenges of this new moment with old thinking and unchanged habits — or without diversity of background and perspective."

Bo Erickson, Ed O'Keefe and Camilo Montoya-Galvez contributed to this report.

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